The turning of the Wheel of the Year brings us very soon to Imbolc, which Reform Pagans often refer to as the Vernal Passage because, according to ancient Gaelic traditions and our own Reform Pagan liturgical calendar, this sabbat is the passageway into the season of spring.
Though the exact etymology of “Imbolc” is unknown, sources cited in the Wikipedia article on Imbolc explain that the word is thought to derive perhaps from Old Irish for either “in the belly” (referring to the pregnancy of ewes at this time of year) or “to cleanse oneself” (ritualistically, that is) or perhaps from Proto-Celtic for “budding”. Any of these connotations would be apt for a sabbat that many Reform Pagans associate with, on the one hand, purification from the old and, on the other hand, openness and resolve toward the new.
Imbolc also comes at nearly the same time as the celebration of Candlemas, which involves ritualistic blessing and lighting of candles. Coincidentally or not, many Reform Pagans have incorporated candles (typically white, a color that symbolizes, among other things, the clean and pure snow that may be on the ground at this time of year) as an essential element in our celebration of Imbolc.
At ReformPagan.org, we’re excited to announce—at this very appropriate time of Imbolc, no less!—the launch of the Pagan Renewal Network. The Network is still in gestation, just as lambs are in their mothers’ bellies at Imbolc, but our vision for the Nexus is that it would serve as a forum and resource for our community where we can come together to share the transformational light of information and inspiration.
With much love and many bright blessings always,
And particularly on this occasion of the Vernal Passage,
Your team of kindred spirits at ReformPagan.org
Also published on Medium.